Josh Bailey is just about ready to return to action, but the Islanders are not quite ready for him.
Bailey missed his fourth consecutive game Saturday night, ostensibly because of the shoulder injury he suffered when he got dumped into the boards by the Devils' Bryce Salvador on Dec. 28.
But that had been the last time the Isles lost, so Bailey, who has been practicing and skating regularly, hasn't cracked the lineup of very superstitious coach Jack Capuano.
"We've won some big games, so that's a help in not feeling like I need to rush back," said Bailey, who hadn't had a goal in 28 games before his injury.
Capuano stuck with the same lineup Saturday night, meaning Eric Boulton again was a healthy scratch and Matt Donovan, recalled from Bridgeport on Friday, also sat out.
Donovan had a strong self-assessment of his first two months up with the Islanders before he was sent down Nov. 29.
"I think I was afraid of making a mistake," he said. "You can't play that way or you will make mistakes. I think I learned my lesson. Hopefully, I'll have more confidence this time around and play a little better."
Donovan had three goals and 11 assists in 14 games with the Sound Tigers. He had a goal and four assists in 22 games in his first Isles stint.
With Evgeni Nabokov and Anton Khudobin in the Islanders' and Hurricanes' nets, it made sense that the Russian Olympic coaching staff was at the Coliseum. Head coach Zinetula Bilyaletdinov and general manager Alexei Kasatonov sat in. Both were defensemen on the USSR's 1980 Olympic team.